LAHORE: An accountability court on Friday issued bailable arrest warrants for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in a case initiated against him by the National Accountability for allegedly making illegal appointments in the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) during his tenure as the federal water and power minister.
Ashraf’s counsel sought his client’s exemption from appearing before the court on the grounds of illness.
However, Judge Syed Jawadul Hassan turned down the application and issued the arrest warrants.
The NAB prosecutor informed the court that Ashraf had already skipped several hearings.
The judge observed that the case was in its final stages and the former premier should have appeared before the court.
The hearing was adjourned till September 18.
NAB has accused the PPP leader of misusing his authority by illegally appointing 437 people from his constituency to Gepco without any merit
Former water and power secretary Shahid Rafi and former directors of Gepco’s boards of governors including Saleem Arif, Malik Muhammad Razi Abbas and Wazir Ali were also included in the reference filed in 2016.
On August 16, the court had adjourned the hearing of the case till August 30 after Ashraf’s counsel sought his exemption from appearance on similar grounds.
Earlier this month, the former premier also failed to appear before an accountability court in a rental power projects reference.
An accountability court in Islamabad indicted him and others in a corruption case related to irregularities in hiring rental power plants during the last government of the PPP.
The former premier is accused of causing a loss of Rs22 billion to the exchequer by using his authority to increase down payment to two companies from 7% to 14%. He also faces another case of corruption in the Nandipur power plant. He was accused of delaying the approval of the Nandipur project, resulting in losses worth billions of rupees to the national kitty.
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